After a vent on Facebook about the mental health care, or lack of, that my daughter had been receiving, I had a lovely email from my second cousin that ended with “…phone me and we’ll talk about mustard seeds.”
Not having heard that before, it caught my attention, but I did decide it was just a term my cousin used meaning we’ll talk about ‘stuff’ – the important, the feel good, the mundane and the trivial.
I rang, and sure enough we talked about ‘stuff’. Then more ‘stuff’. And when I thought we were ‘stuffed’ out, my cousin said “so let’s talk about those mustard seeds.”
He asked me if I’d ever heard the story about Buddha and the mustard seed. I hadn’t, but my interest was piqued. I love Buddha’s teachings, and knew my cousin was passing this one on as it had some meaning for me.
The condensed version of the parable tells of a young woman, Kisa Gotami, whose only son died. She was heartbroken and went to see Buddha, begging him to cure her son. He told her that he first wanted a mustard seeds, but that the mustard seeds could only be accepted from a household that hasn’t seen death. As Kisa went from house to house she realised that there wasn’t a family that hadn’t experienced her pain.
The point for me take from this was that I’m not alone in my experiences as a parent with a teen with mental health issues, sometimes I don’t realise that.
The point for all of us to take from this is that we’re not alone in whatever we’re going through. Without question there’s someone, somewhere, who relates to our own suffering, on whatever level that suffering of our human condition is.
That knowledge provides a type of comforting soul food. And not because I think we relish in other’s pain, but because I think as humans we don’t like feeling emotionally or socially isolated. In all aspects of our lives we need to have those connections, particularly during the most challenging times.
The full parable continues on to teach us about finding peace after the death of loved ones. The same lesson can also be applied to change, which death represents spiritually, so if you’re interested I’ve included a link to Buddha and the Mustard Seed here
The goal, which ever way you look at it, is to live with as little emotional pain and suffering as possible during our time on earth. Hearing about the mustard seed eased much of my inner turmoil, and the thought that there are other parents out there who’ve been through the same as me has stayed with me.
That thought calms me to a certain extent and helps me to stop and choose what will consume my worries. I’d love to say I could go cold turkey but that ain’t gonna happen. I’ve decided to give myself a daily worry allowance instead, so I need to use that allowance wisely. If I have no control over the situation or outcome it’s not worth wasting a worry. It’s pretty black and white which is how I want it. Grey areas can grow and make weird formations, so no grey. If something big comes up, there are no increases to the allowance – something has to give up it’s worry card and become obsolete. It’s brutal! But we only get one go at this life.